by Quaye Dydasco
It’s no surprise that the world is ever-changing. The rules of society are evolving and the planet is taking its turn for the worst. But the new norm of smoky air, paper straws, and memes doesn’t mean that’s how it’s always been. To assume that the past must be rewritten because times have changed is impossible and ignorant.
Two holiday songs have sparked a plethora of criticism in the past two years with the rise of the #MetTo movement: “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Santa Baby”. This backlash on both decades-old songs caused enough controversy to be removed from certain radio stations including San Francisco’s 96.5 KOIT and KOSI 101.1 in Colorado. Much of the opposers of the songs are those taking into consideration the #MeToo movement of sexual assault survivors and find the lyrics to counter the evolvement of the 21st century.
The #MeToo movement has made headlines, coined by Tarana Burke to bring sexual assault survivors together and popularized by the Harvey Weinstein case and the Lawrence G. Nassar case. Both led hundreds of women to come forward, snowballing into thousands making their voices heard throughout social media and protests.
As a woman, I am proud to live in a world where women’s voices are heard and social standards are changing for the better. The #MeToo movement spreads awareness about issues that were ignored and suppressed for centuries. Now, thanks to the strength of these women, people like me can speak out.
We can’t pretend that the past didn’t happen, though. Writer and philosopher George Santayana writes, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” “Baby It’s Cold Outside” came out in 1944, where men and women occupied stricter gender roles than they do now. Women’s social norms kept them in the house having children and out of the workforce. Back then, it was socially acceptable for women to be conservative in the sense that they weren’t allowed to be out late and any type of outward sexuality was provocative.
But we live in a different world now, where women can speak freely and wear whatever they’d like (for the most part…time for you to leave, sexist school dress codes). That’s the beauty of evolvement. The strides American society has taken to create an accepting environment for women, African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, and many more are incredible.
In the end, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a song about a man trying to convince a woman to stay. Some lyrics may be controversial, so if you don’t like them, appreciate the movement the 21st century has made to combat them. The same goes for “Santa Baby”: The song is about a woman embracing her sexuality, but if it’s obscure and too “sexualizing,” realize that it was written in the ’50s. Do some research!
Overall, stop getting your tinsels in a twist and let me enjoy my holiday playlist without you chiming in with a flaccid opinion you heard from a man on the radio. And next time you come for my favorite Christmas songs, delete your racist and homophobic tweets from 2011.
A scene from Neptune’s Daughter, of which the song originates. (Photo Courtesy of Youtube.)